Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Packing Suggestions

When you are away from home 12 days, it is easy to be tempted to pack clothes for each day.  Try to suppress the urge to do that for this trip because you will not need that much.

It will be quite hot in Tanzania this time a year (79-95 degrees and about 86% humidity) so it is important to pack lightweight clothing that breathes well.  I like anything made out of cotton because not only does it let in a bit of breeze but many cotton garments are wrinkle free.  T-shirts and cotton shirts  and lightweight trousers are best.  
It does get cool at night and we will have a couple of early mornings so make sure to pack a fleece, sweatshirt or windbreaker jacket.

Here is a sample travel list using the "head and shoulders, knees and toes" method:

  • Hat, cap, or bandana -- Tanzania is terribly dusty and polluted so you might want to protect your hair from unnecessary dust gunk
  • Shades or Sunglasses 
  • Glasses/contacts --pack your old glasses as well and extra pairs of contacts if you can
  • Toiletries -- most toiletries items are readily available in TZ but you might not find your favorite brands
  • Nail clipping kit (please pack this in your suitcase and not your carry-on luggage)
  • earplugs (if you have issues with noise)
  • extra lip balm
  • 4-5 T-Shirts, short sleeve shirts, or sleeveless Ts (whatever you style).  Ladies, keep in mind that in Dar Es Salaam, the large portion of the population is Muslim. Many women wear hijab so keep modesty in mind when making your shirt and shorts selection.
  • 2 long sleeve garments (long sleeve Ts, fleece, one jacket, sweat shirt etc).  Long sleeves will be welcome when we go to Ngorongoro.  It will not only keep the chill away but also protect from insects and pesky no-see'ems 
  • one business casual outfit for the Dar Es Salaam leg of the tour
  • swimsuit -- cause we gotta dip at least a toe in the Indian ocean
open sneakers
  • 2-3 pairs Lightweight trousers, tights, gym pants or light jeans
  • shorts (Ladies, avoid short shorts please and gents....uhm..this applies to you too)
  • underwear (optional...hehehe) 
  • 1-2 pairs of socks --my feet always get cold on the plane so I either wear socks during the flight or pack a pair in my carry-on luggage
  • 1-2 pairs or shoes-- we will need a pair of sturdy shoes.  I find sneakers very comfortable but sometimes they do not do well in hot weather.  However, sandals are not good travel footwear even in hot weather because they leave your toes to all kinds of abuse.  Some genius has invented this cross between a sandal and a sneaker (see photo) that work really well.  They are not the prettiest shoe but they work for me.
  • We are going to be at the beach so you may want to sneak a pair of flip flops in your suitcase
  • Camera and film (if needed)
  • Binoculars
  • Games (e.g., cards, dice, hacky sack, yo-yos, Frisbee, juggling balls, dominoes)
  • Books (kindle, etc)
  • A small current converter 
  • English dictionary and/or thesaurus
  • Multi-purpose pocket knife (please pack in suitcase and not in carry-on luggage)
  • LED Flashlight or solar light bulb
  • A small amount of seeds to plant -- these will make great gifts and are available at SGS.  The folks at the Lansing branch are very familiar with our project (please pack seeds in suitcase)
  • favorite gum
  • Mosquito repellent
  • sun block
  • Itchy cream 
  • Your favorite pain meds (the legal kind)
  • Antihistamine
  • small first aid kit 
  • Sewing kit
  • Money belt (critical for traveling on public transport)
  • Duct or packing tape
  • Journal or diary -- you can also blog about your experiences on this blog
Many suggest using mosquito netting but we will be staying at decent hotels and mosquito spray should be enough to keep them at bay.

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